Today, I stumbled across a video called “How female to male gender reassignment surgery works” (courtesy of World Entertainers). Self-explanatory, right? I was pretty pumped when I spotted it, nestled in my Facebook feed. Unfortunately, this particular video is a bit of a bittersweet resource, and it happens to be an example of the backbone of my cause here on Tra(n)veling Man:
All the resources in the world could never embody or perfectly exhibit what it means to live the Trans* experience. Every individual transition is different. Cis gendered people can (and should) learn all the facts and engage in all the discussions, but there will never be a common understanding of what it means to be Trans*.
Now, now, before you get defensive, let me explain.
To the Cis people: You are reading this blog because you want to understand, you want to know why or how Trans* people live the lives that they do. Hooray for you! That’s grand! There is nothing wrong with being curious, and there is absolutely everything right about wanting to educate yourself.
To the Trans* people: Perhaps you are just beginning your journey, or you’re looking for some answers to your questions about the Trans* world that you don’t personally experience, or -insert absolutely any other reason here-. Hooray for you! That’s grand! We all need to come together and accept the variations within the Trans* community.
So, here is the number one creed of my personal life and Tra(n)veling Man: You cannot demand understanding and you cannot demand respect without giving it yourself. When both parties, Cis and Trans*, can accept the fact that there will never be 100%, entirely conscious understanding of the other…we can move on and begin to build connections. I don’t require a Cis person to experience the sensation of being so body dysphoric that they want to rip their skin off. I can’t ask that of them. They can’t ask of me that I understand their attachment to their genitals.
Finally, how does this video tie in to all of this?
This video is FACTUALLY correct. Yes, scrotoplasty involves implanting prosthetic testicles into a set of sewn-together labia. Yes, testosterone hormones change the appearance of the body to be more masculine. BUT! But. This video presents a definite order to this process, and it is arranged in a way that somehow connects a double mastectomy to a hysterectomy (as only one example of the strange connections between procedures made in the video). There is no set order in which a physical gender transition occurs; you do not HAVE TO take hormones before any surgeries, you do not HAVE TO have your uterus removed with your breast tissue, etc. Hell, you don’t HAVE TO have any of these procedures in order to transition!
Only to name a few big-wigs of the Trans* world: Ryan Cassata, a well-known and loved transgender singer and artist, underwent a top surgery (double mastectomy), but has never taken testosterone. Buck Angel is the touted Man with a Pussy, after taking testosterone and having top surgery. Not to mention, there are COUNTLESS men on Youtube and throughout the wonders of the internet who have undergone various forms of bottom surgery (procedures to change a person’s genitals).
My dearest friends, don’t ever let anyone tell you who you are or how you should live. Life is about the exchanging of ideas and opinions, and learning to grow with each new bit of nutritious information you receive. Do you research. Open your eyes and your ears. Most of all, open your heart, even to those who don’t understand. They will if you give them time.